In setback for Obama, top Jewish Democratic senator says will oppose Iran deal

September 4, 2015 19:09

US Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Friday he would vote against the nuclear agreement with Iran, in a blow to President Barack Obama's hopes of building more significant support for the pact.

"This is a close call, but after a lengthy review, I will vote to disapprove the deal," Cardin said in an opinion column to be published in The Washington Post.

Opposition from Cardin, one of the last senior Jewish-American lawmakers to weigh in on an agreement opposed by Israel, could encourage some of the six remaining undecided Democrats to come out against the deal.

Although the White House has secured the 34 Senate votes needed to sustain Obama's promised veto of any resolution disapproving of the nuclear deal, deal backers would like to get enough Senate votes, 41, to block such a measure in the chamber and avoid Obama having to use his veto power.

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